IBM Gets its First Female CEO

October 27 00:00 2011

New York, October 26 ( – For the first time in the 100-year history of IBM (NYSE: IBM), a female CEO will be at the helm of affairs when Virginia “Ginni” Rometty will succeed Sam Palmisano as chief executive officer on Jan. 1. She is currently senior vice president and IBM’s head of sales, marketing and strategy. She has been described as the natural choice for this job by analysts.

IDC analyst Frank Gens said, “She was the key executive in leading the IBM integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers into IBM. That was instrumental in IBM’s transformation.” PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting was acquired by IBM for $3.9 billion in 2002, which was its largest deal ever at that time. It was part of its shift away from hardware and into software and services.

Rometty was a general manager of the consulting unit at IBM at the time of the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers. She was responsible for retaining PricewaterhouseCoopers’ principal consultants, who didn’t always mesh with IBM’s cost-cutting culture. She was promoted to senior vice president of the group in 2005. In the first two years of her job she boosted profit at the unit 42%.

Rometty is known for her ability to close a sale and expand relationships with companies from State Farm Insurance to Prudential Financial. Fred Amoroso, who was her boss in the financial services consulting division during the 1990s said, “She’s great with customers.”